Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Ever since the dawn of poker, players were forced to mentally navigate through murky waters, perform complex numerical calculations, and rely on their creativity and instincts in order to induce their opponents one way (“caaaaall”) or another (“fooooold”). Not every situation is clear-cut, and some clearly require pause for thought. Thus began the tradition of tanking at the poker table, and shortly thereafter a time-to-act system was instituted in all forms of poker, in order speed up the game, and make it more fun.
In the live tournament realm, players faced with critical decisions are given a reasonable amount of time to act before having the “clock” called on them by other players. Online poker, being an intrinsically faster-paced game, beget the inception of an automatically-activated timer, supplemented, in most cases, by a reserve Time Bank. Live high roller tournaments have recently followed suit, introducing the concept of Shot Clocks, and Time Bank Chips.
The merits of the Time Bank in the online realm are readily evident by a myriad of plausible circumstances we’re all familiar with: any number of technical issues, be they hardware, software, or internet connection-related, delayed reaction time from multi-tabling, and the occasional unforeseen bladder emergency. Obviously, the most important application of the Time Bank is the ability to mull over crucial decisions. For example, we’ve all been here:
“Yum, yum, how do I maximize value against this fish?”
“How did I get here??? Only way out now is to bluff...”
“Wanna call sooo bad... but I’ll be sooo sick when this donkey turns over the nuts!”.
Alas, as with most things in life that start off with good intentions, people tend to find a way to “game” the system, and ruin the experience for all. Case in point, online tournament players intentionally stalling in order make it past the bubble, or tanking at final tables in order to artificially move up to the next blind level, in order to put additional pressure on the shortstacks. While some may view these actions as being “strategic”, it becomes an issue of concern when either everyone is doing this, or enough people are doing it to where the natural flow and enjoyability of tournament poker is at risk.
GGNetwork has decided to address the issue - effective July 30th, we will be revamping the blind levels at our tournament Featured Final Tables (“FFTs”). In fact, we will be removing the element of time, as it relates to blind levels, from our FFTs altogether. No longer will the duration of blind levels at FFTs be determined by the passage of time, susceptible to abuse from tankers, they will solely be determined by the number of hands played.
We feel as though this change will go a long way towards improving the playability of the latter stages of our tournaments. After all, tournaments should feel and play like a journey; an adventure. The last thing you want determining your tournament fate, after having putting in your blood, sweat and tears to make the final table, is a stalling d-bag, abusing the system.